👋 Hey there!
🚅 Welcome to the 55th edition of the Double E Bullet where I deliver two impactful insights to support your journey from being a full-time founder to becoming a part-time CEO in your business.
This month, we’ve embarked on a captivating journey into the art of storytelling and its profound influence on shaping our businesses. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Jay-Z, the iconic rapper known for crafting compelling stories through his music. Today, let’s venture deeper into the world of storytelling by dissecting a memorable moment from the music industry – Jay-Z’s ambitious launch of Tidal. In this intriguing story, we’ll uncover how he overlooked a fundamental rule of storytelling, ultimately leading to the spectacular rise and fall of Tidal.
In case you missed a beat, here’s the backstory. Jay-Z, a legendary figure in the music world, decided to take on a new venture together with 16 of music’s biggest stars: a music streaming service called Tidal. They believed that Tidal would revolutionize the industry by providing artists with more control and a fairer share of revenue. Jay-Z was passionate about this cause but when he introduced Tidal to the world, he inadvertently made a common storytelling mistake.
🧠 Rule #1: You Are Not the Hero, You’re the Guide
In the grand narrative of Jay-Z’s career, it’s evident that he masterfully abides by the first rule of storytelling: You are not the hero; you’re the guide. When he launched Tidal, the music streaming service, he momentarily deviated from this rule, and the consequences were quite enlightening for us, fellow entrepreneurs.
In the early days of Tidal, Jay-Z positioned himself and his fellow high-profile artist-owners as the heroes. The marketing campaigns showcased these music legends in a way that left the audience feeling like they were merely spectators, not active participants. It’s like watching a superhero movie where the heroes swoop in to save the day, leaving the audience awestruck but disconnected.
You see, Jay-Z presented himself as the hero of the Tidal story. He emphasized his role in bringing artists together and his vision for a brighter future. While passion and vision are undoubtedly essential, he missed a crucial element of storytelling: clarifying who the hero is.
Why? Because in the world of storytelling, the hero is not the one who should hog the spotlight. Instead, it’s the audience who should feel like the hero, with the storyteller serving as the trusted guide. This role reversal is what creates a powerful connection between the narrative and the audience. Think of your favourite hero’s journey in cinema. Whether it’s Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, or Munna Bhai in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, the magic lies in their transformation from ordinary beings into extraordinary figures. As entrepreneurs, we must enable our audience, our customers, to embark on their hero’s journey with our guidance as their guides.
The hero, in this case, should have been the music lovers, the artists, and the listeners – the very people who would benefit from Tidal’s mission. Jay-Z, as the guide, should have shown how Tidal could empower these heroes in their journey to a better music industry. By placing himself as the hero, Jay-Z inadvertently created a narrative that was perceived as self-serving. Tidal’s launch lacked the emotional connection that comes from understanding the audience’s pain points, desires, and aspirations. It didn’t effectively communicate how Tidal could guide music lovers and artists toward a brighter future.
The lesson here is clear: whether you’re launching a music streaming service or running a startup, storytelling matters. As founders and entrepreneurs, we must remember that our customers are the heroes of their stories, seeking solutions to their problems and looking for guides to lead them on their journeys. By positioning ourselves as guides, we can create narratives that resonate deeply, foster trust, and inspire action. Jay-Z’s journey with Tidal serves as a powerful reminder of the #1 rule of storytelling: You are not the hero; you’re the guide.
Jay-Z’s storytelling prowess extends far beyond the realm of music. His subsequent pivot with Tidal is a testament to the power of narrative in shaping the success of ventures. Since that first launch, Tidal was most recently acquired for a cool $300 million by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter; so it’s not all bad news for JayZ. As we continue our exploration of storytelling, let’s embrace the role of the guide in our own entrepreneurial journeys and empower our audience to be the heroes of their stories because it’s never too late!
Building on our storytelling theme, get ready for an exciting journey as I unveil a potent three-part storytelling structure borrowed from Hollywood. This versatile framework can elevate various forms of content, from presentations to pitch decks.
Stay tuned for what’s in store in next week’s edition! 📜🌟
📚 Three must-watch videos for you to binge-watch on the topic of masterful storytelling
JJ Abrams, the creative mind behind iconic works like Star Trek, Lost, and the revival of Star Wars in 2015, is celebrated for his mastery of the sci-fi genre. He possesses a unique talent for maintaining viewers’ engagement in a narrative until the very climax, which is one of the key factors, alongside Tom Cruise’s undeniable star power, contributing to the enduring success of the Mission Impossible franchise. In his captivating TED Talk, Abrams invites us into his creative realm with his charming and unassuming style. He adeptly draws the audience into his narrative while subtly positioning himself as the guiding force, making for an enlightening journey into his storytelling prowess.
This one is adult-themed but it’s absolutely worth watching Mary Roach, the author of Bonk, deliver a talk about the 10 things most of us don’t know about orgasms; a topic that many would find uncomfortable to discuss anywhere let alone on a TED stage! She’s informative and candid and the humour she infuses into it together with her witty observations makes it completely endearing. Watch how she uses storytelling and humor, to demystify this complex topic, taking the audience on an entertaining journey into the scientific and cultural aspects of orgasms.
One TED talk that holds a special place in my heart and has earned countless replays is by Tim Urban. In this talk, he masterfully uses storytelling to delve into the inner workings of a procrastinator’s mind. He takes the audience on a captivating journey, weaving relatable anecdotes and vivid descriptions to illustrate the challenges and quirks of procrastination which otherwise would be a very boring and dry topic. By sharing his personal experiences and employing humor, Tim engages viewers, making them feel like active participants in his storytelling.
That’s all for this edition! What was your favorite bullet?